Pesto Genovese – Official recipe

Basil is very much in season here at the moment, so I bought a couple of bunches at the market and decided to make pesto.I dug out the official recipe from Consorzio Pesto Genovese. It’s very specific about exactly where the ingredients should come from. I’m providing the original recipe, but feel free to substitute ingredients from another region. eg. Basil not from Genoa ūüôā The recipe also calls for a pestle and mortar. This is undoubtably the best way, but you can get very acceptable results using a blender. Just put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until almost smooth. Serves 6

Pesto Genovese Ingredients

Pesto Genovese Ingredients

  • 50g of basil leaves (from Genoa of course)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (from Liguria)
  • 6 Tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
  • 2 Tbsp Pecorino (romano, toscano, sardo or siciliano)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (can be omitted)
  • 1 Tbsp pine kernels (from the Mediterranean area)
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts can be substituted for the pine kernels (must be European from the species “Juglans regia”)
  • Coarse sea salt
  1. The traditional method uses a wooden pestle(where the dish gets its name from in a round about way) and a marble mortar. Start by pounding the garlic and salt until you get a smooth paste.
  2. Add the basil, a handful at a time, and keep grinding using a circular motion until each batch of the leaves is incorporated. To preserve the essential oils in the basil, you shouldn’t be too rough with it.
  3. Add the pine kernel and grind some more.
  4. Add the cheese and mix well.
  5. Add the oil, little by little, until the pesto has the right consistency – a matter of taste.
  6. Serve with pasta or added to minestrone. The recommended pastas are troffie, trofiette or trenette, but it goes with just about any pasta. I usually serve it with spaghetti or linguine.
Pesto Genovese finished dish

Pesto Genovese finished dish

Tomato sauce

This is a really simple recipe for an Italian style tomato sauce.¬† In the UK we tend to dress our pasta with a lot more sauce than the Italians do (dare I say too much? ). If you can’t find really ripe fresh tomatoes, use tinned. You won’t get good results with supermarket ‘bounceable’¬† toms. This recipe is makes enough sauce to dress 4 portions of pasta. Really! Trust me!¬† ūüôā On this occasion I served the sauce with linguine, but it goes equally well with many other short or long pastas (e.g. spaghetti, bucatini , sedani, penne, cavatelli etc.)

Tomato sauce ingredients

Tomato sauce ingredients

  • 250g tinned tomatoes or peeled fresh tomatoes
  • A pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • salt
  1. Put the tomatoes and their juice into a saucepan along with the garlic, sugar and a good pinch of salt. Cover and heat gently for about 30 minutes without stirring.
  2. Remove the garlic and mash the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. If you’re using tinned tomatoes cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes¬† until the sauce has reduced.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Immediately before serving, stir in the olive oil and the basil.
  5. Use to dress pasta
Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce

Linguine with tomato sauce

Linguine with tomato sauce

Penne with artichokes

Serves 4

penne with artichokes ingredients

  320  grams  penne rigate
  4       whole  artichokes
  4       tablespoons  olive oil
¬† 1¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†clove¬† garlic — chopped
  1       tablespoon chopped parsley
           juice of a lemon

  • Prepare the artichoke and slice thinly. Put it into a bowl of water to which you’ve added the lemon juice.
  • Heat the oil i a pan. Add the garlic and parsley and fry gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Drain the artichokes and add to the pan. Stir well, cover,¬† and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water, salt, recover the pan and cook over a low heat until the artichokes are tender – maybe 15 minutes
  • Serve with the cooked penne.

penne with artichokes finished dish

                                   

Penne Arrabbiata

There are 1001 different versions of penne arrabbiata.¬†Here’s mine. (So does that now make 1002? ūüôā ) ¬†The name means¬†angry penne¬†because of the chilli.¬†Feel free to adjust the chillies if you prefer it milder or hotter. I even heard of someone cooking it without any chilli! They still insisted on calling it penne arrabbiata¬†though. I would have thought penne felice¬†would have been more appropriate¬†ūüôā¬†Serves 4

Penne arrabbiata ingredients

Penne arrabbiata ingredients

  • 320 g ¬†penne rigate
  • ¬†100 g¬† pancetta — cubed
  • ¬†2 Fresh or dried chillies — chopped
  • ¬†2 cloves¬† garlic — chopped
  • 200 g tomato — peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 50 g parmesan cheese — grated
  • A large sprig of parsley — chopped
  1. Fry the pancetta for a few minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for
    a few more minutes
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat for around 20 minutes
  3. Cook the pasta until al dente
  4. Mix the sauce with the pasta and then mix in the cheese and parsley.
Penne arrabbiata finished dish

Penne arrabbiata finished dish